Visit Minot Pursues Grant Opportunity to Develop a Tourism Industry Marketing Incubator

Keeping You Informed

Potential Benefits of an EDA Grant to the Future of Minot

 

Visit Minot stands at a crossroads in our ability to serve as an economic engine for the city of Minot.

 

While our current location lacks the space needed to evolve our approach to destination marketing, if funded, a U.S. Economic Development Administration grant will allow Visit Minot to strenthen the city’s destination marketing and meet the needs of budding local tourism and hospitality entrepreneurs.  

 

Status quo or pursuit of excellence? We hope you’ll agree there’s no time like the present to position Visit Minot as a catalyst for increased tourism and development of local tourism and hospitality ventures.

 

About the Funding and the Project

The American Rescue Plan Act includes federal funding to be allocated by the EDA. Visit Minot has worked closely with EDA contacts to ensure its $1.4 million funding request meets grant requirements.

 

If selected for grant funding, the project will include:

 

  • Tourism Industry Marketing Incubator: Better known as a “TIMI,” local tourism and hospitality-related start-ups will have the short-term space needed to test products and access to a turnkey retail system, plus access to Visit Minot marketing professionals who can guide them in branding their products and creating website and social media marketing. Progressive tourism organizations across the country have adopted the TIMI approach to connect with local entrepreneurs.

 

  • Pop-Up Retail Space: The new facility will serve as temporary, test marketing space for budding entrepreneurs. This arrangement will complement current visitor center offerings such as Pride of Dakota products.

 

  • Co-Working Space: A desk, a computer, a place to get organized – businesses engaged in tourism-related activities will appreciate the added benefit of having temporary office space at an affordable cost.

 

  • Conference Room: The meeting space will accommodate up to 12 people. It will be used by Visit Minot and available to tourism and hospitality clients.

 

How Will a New Facility Position Visit Minot for the Future?

By operating in a space designed to meet the growing expectations of the city’s tourism and hospitality organization, Visit Minot will be better positioned to promote Minot and contribute to the community’s economy.

The office spaces described above will create opportunities for better connectivity with local entrepreneurs, vendors and businesses. And, while hotel occupancy will continue to be one measure of the organization’s success, Visit Minot’s mission now is much broader, including an increased emphasis on attracting guests from outside of Ward County.

 

Where Do We Go from Here?

The EDA grant application process does not include a specific timeline; funding is being allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Accordingly, Visit Minot is moving forward with an aggressive grant proposal timeline and will submit an application by mid-December 2021.

 

Visit Minot will be notified if funding is awarded sometime in the first quarter of 2022. Planning and remodeling of a downtown building would begin in the summer of 2022. Visit Minot would tentatively plan to move into the new headquarters in the second quarter of 2023.

 

 

A Vision for the Future

In 2018, a report from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) included a recommendation to move Visit Minot to a downtown location. This economic recovery and resiliency strategy was part of IEDC’s vision for the future of our city.

Challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, a downturn in the oil and gas industry, and fluctuations in value of the Canadian dollar have reinforced the need to create a stable base for Minot’s tourism industry. By building a strong foundation, the city will be better prepared to weather the impact of external forces.